Posts Tagged ‘Good Food Markets’

Celebrating Ottawa’s summer harvest: farmers’ markets, food festivals, gourmet tours and picnic pop-up’s

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Photo by Lorna Rande (Flickr)

Besides hot weather and non-stop music festivals, summer in Ottawa means an explosion of local produce and food celebrations across the city. Visit farmers’ markets for just-picked fruit and veggies. Dine at open-air picnics where Ottawa’s chefs prepare dishes using fresh local ingredients. Tour regional farms and food artisans. Learn to forage for wild edibles.

Not only will you enjoy the best food Ottawa has to offer, you’ll help support the local food economy and learn more about how the region feeds itself. Here’s a taste of what’s coming up over the next six weeks.

Harvest events

Partnering with local farmers, some of the Ottawa region’s finest chefs prepare unique dishes from seasonal local ingredients for family-style dining. Participating restaurants include Beckta Dining and WineCourtyard RestaurantFairmont Château Laurier and Thyme and Again Creative Catering, among others.

Tickets start at $75/person and are available at Event Brite and the Ottawa Farmers Market. VIP tickets ($90) cover cocktails and appetizers, and a tour of the Ottawa Farmers’ Market by C’est Bon Cooking.

  • Harvest Noir Secret Picnic, September 7, 5 p.m.

Described by media as a game-changer when it burst on the Ottawa scene a few years ago, the Harvest Noir Secret Picnic is a pop-up foodie and social happening whose location is announced at the last minute. In the past, as many as 1,500 people have attended to celebrate local food and farms, strut their stuff in black vintage clothing, dance, and enjoy the spectacle of flash mobs and a pop-up parade.  The event is modeled on similar picnics in Europe, New York City and Montréal.

Tickets range from about $37 to $57 and can be ordered online. 

Food markets 

  • Farmers’ markets

In full swing right now, many will remain open until October/November. Others, such as the Byward Market and the Savour Ottawa Parkdale Field House, are open year-round. Check here for a full list of urban and village markets in the Ottawa region. For tips on how to shop smarter at the farmers’ market, read my May post.

  • Good Food Markets, summer

These community non-profits sell good quality, affordably priced fruits, vegetables and dried goods in neighbourhoods that don’t have farmers’ markets or food stores nearby.  For information about dates and locations, go to or contact Kaitrin Doll at

Food festivals 

The herbfest is geared to gardeners, foodies, environmentalists, families, artists and entrepreneurs who are interested in healthy living alternatives. Highlights will include live music, local food producers and a chef cook-off, hosted by Debbie Trenholm of The Savvy Company. Buy tickets in advance ($4 per person/$12 per family) or at the gate.

  • Garlic festivals, August 10-11, Carp and Perth

Sample different types of garlic from a variety of producers, see cooking demonstrations and check out other food vendors and artisans at the Carp Garlic Festival or the Perth Lions Garlic Festival.

Tours and walks 

  • Wild garden plant walk, August 7, 17, 21

Learn how to identify, use, harvest, process and store safe, common wild plants. Walks are led by Amber Westfall, founder of The Wild Garden and a start-up farmer with Just Food. Tickets cost $20 for a single walk and $15 for multiple walks. Sign up online or contact Amber.

The day’s agenda includes trips to three organic farms: Arc Acres Farm (vegetables, beef and pork), Grazing Days Farm (beef) and vegetable farm Roots and Shoots (to be confirmed). Go to the COG website for more info or send an email to register.  Instead of admission fees, COG encourages donations to help support its educational programs.

  • Just Food’s 7th Annual Urban Agriculture Bike Tour, August 25

This relaxed-pace 12 km bike ride will take you to five of the city’s more than 30 community gardens where coordinators will share their garden experiences and answer questions. For more info or to sign up, send an email ( or call Agathe Moreau at 613-699-6850 (x12). Tickets are $5 each. 

Get a taste of Ottawa’s varied culinary scene by visiting farmers’ markets, and chefs and food artisans in neighbourhoods such as Westboro, the Glebe, Hintonburg, Preston Street and rue Eddy. Tours start at $40 plus taxes.

What’s your favourite way to celebrate Ottawa’s summer harvest?


Affordable, healthy food at Ottawa’s Good Food Markets

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Photo: Ottawa Good Food Markets/Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centre’s Anti-Poverty Project.

Guest post by Denise Deby. Denise blogs at Green Living Ottawa and writes on social and environmental issues ( Her articles have appeared in publications such as Alternatives Journal (A\J), This Magazine, Ottawa Citizen and


If you enjoy shopping at local food markets but don’t have one near you, or if cost is an issue, you might want to check out the Ottawa Good Food Markets.

The Good Food Markets are bringing healthy food to several Ottawa neighbourhoods this summer, offering fresh produce and staples in locations that don’t have farmers’ markets or food stores nearby. What’s more, the markets sell food at wholesale prices to keep it affordable.

Who’s behind the Good Food Markets?

Several organizations in Ottawa have come together to form the Poverty and Hunger Working Group. Coordinated by the Coalition of Community Health and Resource Centres of Ottawa, their aim is to improve food security – that is, to help ensure that people in Ottawa have access to healthy, affordable food.

Kaitrin Doll, the Coalition’s anti-poverty community engagement worker, says the Good Food Markets are a tangible way to do this. ‘‘We wanted to focus on implementable projects that will make a difference for our community,” she explains.

Partners include the Ottawa Good Food Box, the Social Planning Council of Ottawa, Just Food, the City of Ottawa’s Community and Social Services Department, Ottawa Public Health, community health and resource centres and others.

What’s available at the Good Food Markets?

The markets offer fruits and vegetables, grains such as rice or couscous, legumes, dried fruit and nuts. A local community health, resource centre or group organizes each market, and decides what to stock based on community interest. While the aim is to provide as much locally grown food as possible, keeping prices down and providing imported favourites are also priorities.

The Ottawa Good Food Box orders the produce from food wholesalers and local farmers who provide items for its Good Food Box program (a non-profit initiative that brings people together to buy fresh produce at wholesale prices). The Social Planning Council of Ottawa, which runs a community food pantry, sources dried goods.

The Good Food Markets are also a hub for music, entertainment and kids’ activities, and Ottawa Public Health community food advisors are on hand to provide food samples and recipes. Doll says that the markets aim to promote community engagement as well as healthy eating, and so far, it’s working. In a survey of 220 market-goers last year, most said they were very satisfied and wanted to see it more often, with many noting its nutritional and community benefits.

When and where are the markets?

Offered as a pilot project in four sites last year, the Good Food Markets are expanding to six locations in 2013:

  • Strathcona Heights: 731A Chapel St. at Wiggins Private (Sandy Hill Community Health Centre) June 22, July 20, August 31
  • Michele Heights: 2955 Michele Dr. off Carling Avenue (Pinecrest Queensway Community Health Centre), June 30
  • Rochester Heights 299 Rochester St. near Somerset West (Somerset West Community Health Centre) June 15 at Laroche Park in Mechanicsville; June 20 and July 20 in Rochester Heights
  • Centretown: Bronson and Laurier (Nanny Goat Hill Community Garden) July 13, August 10, September 14, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Overbrook: east of Vanier Parkway (Rideau Rockcliffe Community Resource Centre) June 15, July 6, August 24, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Parkwood Hills: 76 Inverness Ave. near Meadowlands (Nepean, Rideau and Osgoode Community Resource Centre and South Nepean Community Health Centre) June 22, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

See the Good Food Markets Facebook page for updates.

Who are the Good Food Markets for?

Everyone is welcome, to drop by, shop or volunteer. “We’re open to ideas and collaborations,” adds Doll.

Will you be checking out the Ottawa Good Food Markets?

Great reads about food and farming

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Food safety, sustainable food, urban farming, food security, food justice: they’re all getting media attention these days. Starting with this post, Earthward will round up some of the most compelling stories about the food system in Ottawa, across Canada and around the world. While the round-ups will only represent a fraction of what’s out there, my goal will be to include a range of stories that reflect the varied ideas, people and initiatives that make up the sustainable food movement.

Access to food key to good health. The Ottawa Citizen’s Joanne Chianello looks at the possible link between health and the distance to the nearest grocery store in her coverage of the Ottawa Neighbourhood Study. Ottawa Public Health wants to help with poor food access and is already doing so by assisting programs such as the Good Food Box and Good Food Markets for underserved areas. In the meantime, the Ottawa Board of Health has approved a strategy to help overcome obstacles to accessing healthy food.

Grass-fed, natural beef? It’s likely no safer. In her November 21 feature in The Globe and Mail, author and locavore Sarah Elton explodes the myth that grass-fed, naturally-raised, local beef is necessarily safer than mass-produced hamburger meat. While there are lots of great reasons for buying meat raised without antibiotics and using low-impact farm methods, the risks of contamination remain, Elton says.

Large urban farm to take root in Windsor. In this latest example of farms transforming decayed urban space, Windsor, Ontario businessman Van Niforos plans to turn an old trolley yard into an integrated urban farm and restaurant. Already a restaurant owner, Niforos and his business partners will build a 3,000 square-foot greenhouse to grow tomatoes and other produce for the restaurant. In the longer term, they hope to expand and include an outdoor farm and a rooftop orchard.

Obama’s Game of Chicken. The November-December issue of Washington Monthly features an outstanding piece of journalism by Lina Khan on how the Obama administration tried to stand up for independent poultry, cattle and dairy producers but retreated in the face of Big Agriculture.  As the article shows, weakened anti-trust laws and the return of monopolies in food production and processing have reduced independent farmers to the status of sharecroppers – if that. The story focuses on the U.S., but similar forces are at work in Canada.  A long article, but worth it.

CIW vs Publix: Remembering Farmworkers on Thanksgiving. This year, Thanksgiving in the U.S. was marked by a week of grassroots action to urge grocery chains such as Publix to work towards a Fair Food Agreement. Fair Food activists, along with The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a community-based organization working with immigrants in low-wage jobs, want the abolition of field slavery (yes, it still exists), payment of a living wage and fair treatment for tomato farmers in Florida. The CIW and Fair Food have made big strides since they began more than a decade ago, signing agreements with brands such as McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway, Whole Foods Market, Aramark and others. As a major buyer of Florida tomatoes, Publix has refused to work with the CIW on an agreement that would pay farmworkers a penny more per pound and establish fair labour practices.


Have you read any stories about food you’d like to share?